Sports events set to return amid Covid-19

Published May 8, 2020


DURBAN - For almost two months the world has been devoid of sports events because of the spread of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.

On Wednesday, Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel gave government approval for the Bundesliga to return - it is the first European major leagues to return to the pitch amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

The league was suspended on March 13. Fixtures are set to recommence on Saturday, May 16. Among the matches to be played on Saturday is the Revierderby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04.

The announcement comes a day after clubs in the top two German divisions returned 10 positive results from 1,724 Covid-19 tests. The German Football League (DFL) warned that many top-division teams would be in an "existence-threatening" financial position if play did not resume by June.

After several recent cancellations due to the spread of the pandemic, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has also announced its comeback with three fight cards in the space of a week. The three events will take place on May 9, 13 and 16. They will be staged in Jacksonville, Florida, USA.

The UFC, which can often attract crowds in excess of 20,000, has confirmed all fight nights will be closed to the public due to the pandemic and only "essential personnel" will be in attendance. Restrictions due to the pandemic have prevented UFC 249 from being staged last Saturday after ESPN refused to give the UFC the green light.

South Korea's top football division, the K-League's delayed season is expected to return on May 8. The league was suspended when South Korea went into lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic and players have recently returned to training. They have started playing practice games this week.

Meanwhile, in Nicaragua, professional soccer matches continue to be played behind closed doors with matches broadcasted live on television and on the internet. Last month, the country hosted a controversial boxing event that saw fighters sprayed with disinfectant and ring girls donning face masks. The fights were broadcast by Nicaragua's state-owned Canal 6 and ESPN Latin America through its ESPN KnockOut program.

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